One year ago I had a friend who had a problem with alcohol.
One year ago my friend was in a car accident.
One year ago my friend had the extreme luck to have walked away from that accident physically unscathed and not having to carry the burden of having hurt anyone else.
One year ago there was information being shared. Information that stunned us when we found out how large a part alcohol played in my friend’s life.
One year ago I Was Plenty Angry Enough:
I got up this morning and saw I had a text. It had not awakened me during the night. It was a 2 a.m. text. You know what that means. It’s either a drunk text. Or something bad.
It was to let me know a friend of mine is “okay”. Which is also an indicator of something not good.
She was okay, but she was in an accident.
And she had been drinking.
I’m not writing this to point out the obvious about drinking and driving. I’ve done that. She’s done that. We’ve had that discussion.
But the thing about drinking and driving, getting in an accident and not being hurt…
She is damn lucky. As is any one else who was in her path last night.
I don’t mind pointing out a few more things though.
She is lucky for quite a few more reasons.
Right now any of us who care about her are angry and she is safe. I am angry because she made a decision that not only put her at risk, but many others. I am angry because she totaled her car. She escaped with her life. I’m not angry she escaped with her life. I’m angry that she didn’t value it as much as we do.
But not as angry as I would be if she had been hurt or killed.
Then I would be grieving. I would be grieving because this person who has value to my life, her family’s life, her friend’s lives, and the lives of the people she comes in contact with on a daily basis, would be grieving. And we would be angry at her for doing this. And then we would be feeling guilty for being angry. And then more anger on top of all of that because it is so senseless.
And as angry as I would be about her being hurt or killed, I don’t think I could deal with the anger if she had hurt or killed someone else. For all of the bad things that happen in life, drinking and driving is 100% preventable.
I told her I did not think I could look at her if she had hurt or killed anyone.
The simplest lesson I learned in determing if you have a problem with alcohol:
If you have problems when you drink alcohol-you have a problem with alcohol.
I fully understand and comprehend addiction and the hold it has on people. Addiction is a disease. I know the physical, and the psychological, hold that addiction has and the gut wrenching process of dealing with it.
I know these things.
But if she had been killed, or killed another, none of the things I know about addiction would have mattered at all. I have the blessing of being angry at her today, she is not dead, and no one has been physically hurt.
But should there be a next time-
I don’t want her luck to be used up when she is on the road that my children, my grandchildren, her family, and innocent unknowns are traveling.
I want this to be the angriest I ever have to get with her.
Because it’s plenty angry enough.
The “what if’s” of last night are not what is keeping me awake tonight. It’s the “what if’s” of tomorrow if she ever does this again and not I, or anyone who loves her, is reason enough for her to love herself.
One year later sobriety is what drives her.
One year later change is key.
One year later she told her story for the first time to a group gathered together to try and help one another get, and/or stay, sober.
One year later I still have a friend who will always have a problem with alcohol.
Today she called me to tell me about the lead she shared for the first time at one of her Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
One year later she is still alive.
And I believe it’s because she is one year sober.
For anyone struggling with addiction I hope you find the help and care you need. People do care. And you are worth caring about.